DUNCAN, B.C. - A Vancouver Island Mountie found guilty of aggravated assault after shooting a man during a traffic stop has been sentenced to two years probation.
Nanaimo RCMP Const. David Pompeo will also have to serve 240 hours of community service within the next 18 months.
In a ruling Thursday, B.C. provincial court Judge Josiah Wood said the officer appeared to be a responsible member of the RCMP but he showed poor judgment when he shot William Gillespie in September 2009.
While Wood said the matter was of serious concern both to the public and the court, there were circumstances that separated the officer's case from a general aggravated assault case.
Wood also noted that a more severe sentence, such as jail time or a firearms prohibition, would have caused Pompeo to lose his job.
Pompeo testified that he pulled Gillespie over in Chemainus, on southern Vancouver Island, for suspected drunk driving and driving while prohibited.
The officer said Gillespie made "blatant movements and gestures, making me believe he was armed."
Pompeo shot Gillespie in the shoulder.
Gillespie told the court that the shot felt like he'd been hit by a freight train.
He testified he was even more surprised at being shot because the officer said nothing before firing his weapon.
“I remember lying on the ground,” Gillespie said. “I remember blood gushing out all over my face. I remember tasting it. I remember choking on it.”
Outside court on Thursday, Gillespie said he was disappointed with the sentence.
"I was hoping that he would get some sort of jail time, and I was hoping that he would never, ever get his gun back. And he's got his gun back and he's got his job."
"All the time and money that taxpayers have had to pay for this, and he didn't get even get a slap on the wrist. I think it's a sad day for justice today and it's open season on our citizens," he told reporters
The Crown had asked for an 18-month sentence.
Neil MacKenzie, a spokesman for the B.C. Criminal Justice Branch, said the ruling will be carefully reviewed.
"The Crown took a principled approach in this case, advanced the argument that an aggravated assault had been committed and ultimately the court accepted that," MacKenzie said.
"The Crown sought a different sentencing position than was imposed by the court. We respect the position of Judge Wood though, obviously, to impose what he concludes is an appropriate sentence at the end of the case." (SunFM)
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